Three Ways of Planting Potatoes
Cutting The Potatoes into segments before Planting
First of all, decide which part of your garden you want to plant your potatoes. Select an area of your garden that is quite sunny and the soil should be loose not hard. Potatoes do well if the soil is good and fertile. Potatoes are ready to plant when their shoots are about an inch long and have roots shooting out as well. We chit the potatoes and leave it for a few days to dry before planting it. To chit means to cut the sprouting whole seed potatoes into segments to produce more potatoes that's what my father told me when I asked, why? Obviously, the more segments you have the more it produces potato crops which is good. Another benefit of cutting the potatoes is to remove the part that has not germinated and it will increase your harvest of potatoes.
Different ways of planting potatoes
- Growing Potatoes direct into the soil – First dig some plots or raised soil-bed then flatten them with grab hoe or spade and make two parallel holes as many as you need. Or another way of doing it is to dig two parallel trench and put in the multipurpose compost and organic potato fertiliser(made from poultry manure enrich with natural Potash) or you can use growmore plant fertiliser instead. Mix the compost and fertiliser with the soil then sit the seed potato with the shoots facing upwards. Then cover it with soil from the sides about 4 inches deep and a foot apart each hole. Make sure the potato shoots are well covered. You can put two segments of seed potatoes in one hole. So that if one dies you still got another to grow. Then water it after. If you prefer the trench then just line the seed potatoes with the shoots upwards, about 30cm(12 in) apart and 10 to15cm(4 to 6 in)deep and cover the seed potatoes by pulling the soil on the sides.
- Planting on a barrel or container – seed potatoes can be grown in barrels or any containers larger than 12 inches wide(30 cm) and 12 inches deep(30 cm). Make sure the barrel or container has good drainage. Put some gravels or stones at the bottom of the container or barrel to provide drainage. Then top it up with compost mixed with organic potato fertiliser and plant the seed potatoes in it. Make sure you cover the seed potatoes well enough. Then water it after. Position your barrel or container in a sunny position.
- Planting potatoes on a large bin bag or grow bag – First of all, turn the bin bag inside out halfway through then make holes for drainage at the bottom of the bin bag. Fill up the bottom with loose soil or gravel about 2 inches high then top it up with a mixture of multipurpose compost and organic potato fertiliser then plant your potatoes and water it. Even better if you use your own compost. Make sure you put your grow bag in sunny position. This method is very good if you haven't got much space in your garden or you just want to try growing potatoes.
Have you ever planted Potatoes?
Taking care of Potatoes after Planting
Once potatoes are planted, they don't need much looking after, all you got to do is water them everyday if it is not raining and weed them if there are weeds. After a month when the potatoes are about 6 to 8 inches tall in height, it is time to put some more soil on top of the plot to increase production of potatoes and protect the new potatoes(crops) from getting burnt by the sun. Do this only on potatoes planted directly on the soil or plots not on containers or grow bags. At this point you can also put some more potato fertiliser if you think that your potatoes can do with more but if not leave it. Bear in mind you already put some slow-release fertilisers with the compost when you planted them. When your potatoes' leaves turn yellow, that means your potatoes are ready to be harvested. Also the soil cracks when the potatoes are big enough to be harvested.
Photos of growing Potatoes
Some Helpful Tips on what fertilisers to use on Potatoes
1. I used First Choice Organic Potato Fertiliser – a carefully balanced fertiliser for sustained growth of potato tubers. This will help increase your harvest. Also suitable for use with potato barrels, grow bags and other planters. Recommended as well for other vegetable crops. This organic fertiliser gives a slow nutrient release. My brothers and my father use dried chicken manure in the Philippines and their vegetable crops are healthy and robust.
Apply Organic Potato Fertiliser at a rate of 140g/sq. m (4oz /sq. yard). This is equivalent for typical pot sizes to:
- 30 cm (12 in) diameter in pot – 10g
- 38 cm (15 in) diameter in pot – 15g
- 50 cm (30 in) diameter in pot – 30g
2. Growmore (multi-purpose plant food) – is a balanced general purpose plant food which provides the equal amounts of the major nutrients required for strong healthy growth. It is suitable for use on most types of flowers and ideal for feeding fruit and vegetables. It is easy to apply to the soil directly around the established plant. I use this a lot on all my vegetables and flowers. Before topping up the soil on the potato plants, I put a few handful of this fertiliser and cover it up with top up soil.
Liquid Plant Food can be used also if you prefer. I do sometimes buy them liquid fertilisers.